Johannes Stark

Johannes Stark

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Johannes Stark was a German physicist
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, and Physics Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 laureate who was closely involved with the Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik or Aryan Physics was a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled "Jewish Physics"...

movement under the Nazi regime.

Early years


Born in Schickenhof
Freihung
Freihung is a municipality in the district of Amberg-Sulzbach in Bavaria in Germany.....

, Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

 (now Freihung
Freihung
Freihung is a municipality in the district of Amberg-Sulzbach in Bavaria in Germany.....

), Stark was educated at the Bayreuth Gymnasium (secondary school) and later in Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

. His collegiate
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

 education began at the University of Munich, where he studied physics, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, and crystallography
Crystallography
Crystallography is the experimental science of the arrangement of atoms in solids. The word "crystallography" derives from the Greek words crystallon = cold drop / frozen drop, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho = write.Before the development of...

. His tenure at that college began in 1894; he graduated in 1897, with his doctoral
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 dissertation titled Untersuchung über einige physikalische, vorzüglich optische Eigenschaften des Rußes (Investigation of some physical, in particular optical properties of soot).

Career


Stark worked in various positions at the Physics Institute of his alma mater
Alma mater
Alma mater , pronounced ), was used in ancient Rome as a title for various mother goddesses, especially Ceres or Cybele, and in Christianity for the Virgin Mary.-General term:...

 until 1900, when he became an unsalaried lecture
Lecture
thumb|A lecture on [[linear algebra]] at the [[Helsinki University of Technology]]A lecture is an oral presentation intended to present information or teach people about a particular subject, for example by a university or college teacher. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history,...

r at the University of Göttingen. An extraordinary professor at Hanover by 1906, in 1908 he became professor at the RWTH Aachen University. He worked and researched at physics departments of several universities, including the University of Greifswald, until 1922. In 1919, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 for his "discovery of the Doppler effect
Doppler effect
The Doppler effect , named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler who proposed it in 1842 in Prague, is the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the wave. It is commonly heard when a vehicle sounding a siren or horn approaches, passes, and recedes from...

 in canal rays and the splitting of spectral lines in electric fields" (the latter is known as the Stark effect
Stark effect
The Stark effect is the shifting and splitting of spectral lines of atoms and molecules due to presence of an external static electric field. The amount of splitting and or shifting is called the Stark splitting or Stark shift. In general one distinguishes first- and second-order Stark effects...

). From 1933 until his retirement in 1939, Stark was elected President of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt is based in Braunschweig and Berlin. It is the national institute for natural and engineering sciences and the highest technical authority for metrology and physical safety engineering in Germany....

, while also President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft is an important German research funding organization and the largest such organization in Europe.-Function:...

.

It was Stark who, as the editor of Jahrbuch der Radioaktivität und Elektronik, asked in 1907 the then still rather unknown Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 to write a review article on the principle of relativity
Principle of relativity
In physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations describing the laws of physics have the same form in all admissible frames of reference....

. While working on this article, Einstein began a line of thought that would eventually lead to his generalized theory of relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

, which in turn became (after its confirmation) the start of Einstein's worldwide fame. This is heavily ironic, given Stark's later work as an anti-Einstein and anti-relativity
Criticism of relativity theory
Criticism of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity was mainly expressed in the early years after its publication on a scientific, pseudoscientific, philosophical, or ideological basis. Reasons for criticism were, for example, alternative theories, rejection of the abstract-mathematical method,...

 propagandist in the Deutsche Physik movement.

Stark published more than 300 papers, mainly regarding electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 and other such topics. He received various awards including the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

, the Baumgartner Prize of the Vienna Academy of Sciences (1910), the Vahlbruch Prize of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences (1914), and the Matteucci Medal of the Rome Academy. Probably his best known contribution to the field of physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 is the Stark effect
Stark effect
The Stark effect is the shifting and splitting of spectral lines of atoms and molecules due to presence of an external static electric field. The amount of splitting and or shifting is called the Stark splitting or Stark shift. In general one distinguishes first- and second-order Stark effects...

, which he discovered in 1913.

He married Luise Uepler, and they had five children. His hobbies were the cultivation of fruit trees and forestry. He worked in his private laboratory on his country estate in Upper Bavaria after the war. There he studied the deflection of light in an electric field.

Affiliation with National Socialism


During the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 regime, Stark attempted to become the Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 of German physics through the Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik
Deutsche Physik or Aryan Physics was a nationalist movement in the German physics community in the early 1930s against the work of Albert Einstein, labeled "Jewish Physics"...

("German physics") movement (along with Philipp Lenard
Philipp Lenard
Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard , known in Hungarian as Lénárd Fülöp Eduárd Antal, was a Hungarian - German physicist and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1905 for his research on cathode rays and the discovery of many of their properties...

) against the "Jewish physics" of Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

 and Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

 (who was not Jewish). After Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics and is best known for asserting the uncertainty principle of quantum theory...

 defended Albert Einstein's theory of relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

 Stark wrote an angry article in the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

 newspaper Das Schwarze Korps
Das Schwarze Korps
Das Schwarze Korps was the official newspaper of the Schutzstaffel . This newspaper was published on Wednesdays and distributed free of charge. Each SS member was supposed to read the publication and urge others to do so as well...

, calling Heisenberg a "White Jew".

On August 21, 1934 Stark wrote to physicist and fellow Nobel laureate Max von Laue
Max von Laue
Max Theodor Felix von Laue was a German physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals...

 to toe the party line or else. The letter was signed off with a "Heil Hitler."

In his 1934 book Nationalsozialismus und Wissenschaft (English: "National Socialism and Science") Stark maintained that the priority of the scientist was to serve the nation—thus, the important fields of research were those that could help German arms production and industry. He attacked theoretical physics as "Jewish" and stressed that scientific positions in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 should only be held by pure-blooded Germans.

In 1947, following the defeat of Germany in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Stark was classified as a "Major Offender" and received a sentence of four years imprisonment by a denazification
Denazification
Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering...

 court.

Publications

  • Die Entladung der Elektricität von galvanisch glühender Kohle in verdünntes Gas. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Annalen der Physik und Chemie', Neue Folge, Band 68). Leipzig, 1899
  • Der elektrische Strom zwischen galvanisch glühender Kohle und einem Metall durch verdünntes Gas. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Annalen der Physik und Chemie', Neue Folge, Band 68). Leipzig, 1899
  • Aenderung der Leitfähigkeit von Gasen durch einen stetigen elektrischen Strom. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Annalen der Physik', 4. Folge, Band 2). Leipzig, 1900
  • Ueber den Einfluss der Erhitzung auf das elektrische Leuchten eines verdünnten Gases. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Annalen der Physik', 4. Folge, Band 1). Leipzig, 1900
  • Ueber elektrostatische Wirkungen bei der Entladung der Elektricität in verdünnten Gasen. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Annalen der Physik', 4. Folge, Band 1). Leipzig, 1900
  • Kritische Bemerkungen zu der Mitteilung der Herren Austin und Starke über Kathodenstrahlreflexion. Sonderabdruck aus 'Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft', Jahrgang 4, Nr. 8). Braunschweig, 1902
  • Prinzipien der Atomdynamik. 1. Teil. Die elektrischen Quanten., 1910
  • Schwierigkeiten für die Lichtquantenhypothese im Falle der Emission von Serienlinien. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft', Jg. XVI, Nr 6). Braunschweig, 1914
  • Bemerkung zum Bogen - und Funkenspektrum des Heliums. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft.', Jg. XVI, Nr. 10). Braunschweig, 1914
  • Folgerungen aus einer Valenzhypothese. III. Natürliche Drehung der Schwingungsebene des Lichtes. (Sonderabdruck aus `Jahrbuch der Radioaktivität und Elektronik', Heft 2, Mai 1914), Leipzig, 1914
  • Methode zur gleichzeitigen Zerlegung einer Linie durch das elektrische und das magnetische Feld. (Sonderabdruck aus 'Verhandlungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft.', Jg. XVI, Nr. 7). Braunschweig, 1914
  • Die gegenwärtige Krise der deutschen Physik, ("The Thoroughgoing Crisis in German Physics") 1922
  • Natur der chemischen Valenzkräfte, 1922
  • Hitlergeist und Wissenschaft, 1924 zusammen mit Philipp Lenard
  • Die Axialität der Lichtemission und Atomstruktur, Berlin 1927
  • Atomstruktur und Atombindung, A. Seydel, Berlin 1928
  • Atomstrukturelle Grundlagen der Stickstoffchemie., Leipzig, 1931
  • Nationalsozialismus und Katholische Kirche, ("National Socialism and the Catholic Church") 1931
  • Nationalsozialismus und Katholische Kirche. II. Teil: Antwort auf Kundgebungen der deutschen Bischöfe., 1931
  • Nationale Erziehung, 1932
  • Nationalsozialismus und Wissenschaft ("National Socialism and Science") 1934
  • Physik der Atomoberfläche, 1940
  • Jüdische und deutsche Physik, ("Jewish and German Physics") with Wilhelm Müller, written at the University of Munich in 1941
  • Nationale Erziehung, Zentrumsherrschaft und Jesuitenpolitik, undated
  • Hitlers Ziele und Persönlichkeit ("Hitler's Aims and Personality"), undated

External links